RSA-509 - Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) Program Performance Report

Minnesota (MINNESOTA DISABILITY LAW CENTER) - H240A170024 - FY2017

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameMid-Minnesota Legal Assistance
Address430 First Ave. N.
Address Line 2Suite 300
CityMinneapolis
StateMinnesota
Zip Code55401
E-mail Addressmndlc@mylegalaid.org
Website Addresshttp://www.mndlc.org
Phone6123321441
TTY 6123324668
Toll-free Phone8002924150
Toll-free TTY8002924150
Fax6123345785
Name of P&A Executive DirectorDrew Schaffer
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorPamela Hoopes
Person to contact regarding reportAlex Farrell
Contact Person phone6127463764
Ext.

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas349
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas0
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)349

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff25
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)1,774

PAIR staff delivered 25 presentations that provided 1,774 participants with information on an array of advocacy, service, and rights-related topics. Of these presentations, five focused on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); six focused on health care issues impacting persons with disabilities; two focused on the Minnesota Disability Law Center’s (MDLC) advocacy role in the community; four focused on special education topics; and one focused on voting rights issues. Participants at MDLC training sessions included persons with disabilities and their family members, social service and other public agency staff, legal aid attorneys, pro bono attorneys, school staff attorneys, public defenders, judges and referees, college educators, health care providers, non-profit and for-profit business owners, and staff from other disability advocacy organizations.

In addition to these 25 presentations, PAIR advocates and attorneys staffed tables at and otherwise participated in four outreach and resource events that provided information to 750 community members. PAIR staff distributed MDLC’s information at the University of Minnesota Law School, a prison operated by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, and National Night Out.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff0
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles7
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website1,850
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated8
6. Other (specify separately)0

Narrative

Part II. Individuals Served

A. Individuals Served

Count individual once per FY. Multiple counts not permitted for lines A1 through A3.

1. Individuals still served as of October 1 (carryover from prior FY)99
2. Additional individuals served during the year231
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)330
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)27

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 134

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility7
2. Employment1
3. Program access10
4. Housing6
5. Government benefits/services55
6. Transportation19
7. Education36
8. Assistive technology0
9. Voting0
10. Health care107
11. Insurance1
12. Non-government services48
13. Privacy rights4
14. Access to records0
15. Abuse2
16. Neglect7
17. Other27

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor141
2. Other representation found4
3. Individual withdrew complaint8
4. Appeals unsuccessful8
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.11
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources1
8. Individual case lacks legal merit21
9. Other0

Please explain

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy26
2. Short-term assistance80
3. Investigation/monitoring0
4. Negotiation48
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings25
7. Litigation (including class actions)15
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 45
2. 5 - 2246
3. 23 - 59215
4. 60 - 6424
5. 65 and over40

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females142
2. Males188

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race4
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native2
3. Asian9
4. Black or African American63
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander4
6. White176
7. Two or more races8
8. Race/ethnicity unknown64

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent198
2. Parental or other family home53
3. Community residential home0
4. Foster care3
5. Nursing home12
6. Public institutional living arrangement7
7. Private institutional living arrangement3
8. Jail/prison/detention center17
9. Homeless9
10. Other living arrangements21
11. Living arrangements not known7

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment26
2. Deaf/hard of hearing81
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment86
5. Mental illness9
6. Substance abuse7
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability16
9. Neurological impairment29
10. Respiratory impairment5
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment4
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment9
13. Speech impairment0
14. AIDS/HIV0
15. Traumatic brain injury2
16. Other disability56

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities6

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes292,000

Describe your systemic activities. Be sure to include information about the policies that were changed and how these changes benefit individuals with disabilities. Include case examples of how your systemic activities impacted individuals served.

1. MnCHOICES Notice Project

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has implemented a new comprehensive assessment tool, known as MnCHOICES. MnCHOICES assesses individuals for up to 18 long- term care programs, replacing three separate assessment tools that DHS and its county agencies previously used. As county agencies began using MnCHOICES, MDLC staff realized that individuals were not receiving notice of the full results of their MnCHOICES assessments. Specifically, counties only informed recipients about the programs that they were determined to be eligible for. Counties were not informing individuals that they were determined ineligible for certain programs, nor did they provide information regarding appeal rights. As a result, many individuals who received MnCHOICES assessment had no knowledge that they had the right to appeal an ineligibility decision in a state fair hearing.

PAIR staff raised this issue first via letter to the Commissioner of DHS. Following the letter, PAIR staff participated in multiple meetings with DHS staff, and provided feedback on the assessment and notice process to DHS via email. The end result of the project was DHS’s implementation of two new notice of action forms that provide the comprehensive results of the MnCHOICES assessment to recipients. Moreover, DHS provided new training to county agencies, informing them of their duties to provide complete notices to individuals who receive assessments.

MDLC estimates that at least 66,000 PAIR eligible clients will be affected by these changes. MDLC’s estimate is based on the fact that approximately 6% of Minnesota’s population are PAIR eligible clients, and that at least 1.1 million Minnesotans have access to the fair hearing system. The 6% figure is based on the 2014 Disability Status Report from the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability at the Cornell University ILR School. The Institute estimates that 10.6 % of Minnesota’s population are people with disabilities, and that 4.6% of these individuals are people with cognitive disabilities. The 1.1 million figure is based on numbers from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. According to these entities, approximately 1.03 million Minnesotans are enrolled in Medicaid, and another 100,000 are enrolled in MinnesotaCare, another state-run healthcare program.

2. Statewide Medical Forensic Policy Program Workgroup

The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MNCASA) convened a workgroup through its Statewide Medical Forensic Policy Program (funded by the Office of Justice Programs) that gathered representatives from law enforcement agencies, attorneys, victim services agencies, hospitals, and state agencies, including the BCA and Office of Justice Programs, to participate. The goal of the workgroup is to identify problems with how medical forensic exams are conducted and to propose reforms. MDLC’s legal director was invited to participate on behalf of MDLC and participated throughout FFY2017. People with disabilities have many problems with the investigative process for sexual assaults, including with medical forensic exams. This workgroup presents an excellent opportunity for reform. The workgroup met quarterly through the 2017 calendar year and is ongoing.

Potentially all PAIR eligible clients in Minnesota could be affected by this framework, if they find themselves in an emergency situation. Given Minnesota’s total population of approximately 5.4 million period and the 6% figure used above, MDLC estimates that approximately 324,000 individuals could be affected by the change. This workgroup will conclude in FFY 2018.

3. Target Center Accessibility Committee

PAIR staff served as a member of the Target Center Accessibility Advisory Committee. Target Center, home to the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, underwent a $140 million renovation in the summer of 2017. Prior to the renovation, the Accessibly Committee, which included people with disabilities, city and state representatives, and disability advocates, provided design and policy suggestions to ensure that the renovated stadium meets and exceeds Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements. As a result of the Committee’s work, various accessibility improvements were made to the facility, including improved placement of wheelchair accessibility seating, and improved access coming to and from the building. The committee met multiple times in FY2017, concluding with a tour of the facility once renovations were completed.

MDLC estimates that the committee’s work will impact approximately 232,000 PAIR eligible clients. Fans for the new stadium will likely come from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area, which has a population of 3.8 million according to the 2015 Census Estimate. Given the 6% estimate used above, potentially 232,000 PAIR eligible individuals may attend an event at Target Center.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts25,000
2. Number of individuals named in class actions0

Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.

PAIR’s litigation activities fell within two of MDLC’s priority areas during this report period: Priority 3 (Community-Based Supports, Services, and Health Care) and Priority 4 (Accessibility and Discrimination). An example from each of these priority areas is included below.

Priority 3 Litigation Example:

PAIR staff represented a client with physical disabilities in a case against a hospital where a client regularly sees his treating physician. The client, who uses a wheelchair for mobility, scheduled a doctor’s visit because he had a significant wound on his back. During the visit, the doctor refused to conduct a physical examination on client because there was no accessible exam table. As a result, the client was unable to get needed health care services.

PAIR staff represented the client in a charge of discrimination with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The parties agreed to mediate the charge, and PAIR staff represented the client at the mediation. Following the mediation, the hospital agreed to buy an accessible exam table and train staff on how to use the table. In addition, the hospital agreed to pay client $9,000 in damages. The client is now able to receive appropriate health care at his treating physician’s hospital.

Priority 4 Litigation Example:

MDLC staff represented four incarcerated clients at MCF-Stillwater, a prison operated by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC). All four clients had physical disabilities that limited their mobility, and three of the clients experienced episodes of incontinence. Prior to October 2016, all four clients received meals delivered to them in their units as a reasonable accommodation. In October 2016, MCF-Stillwater stopped providing meals on the unit to our clients, and forced them to walk to the dining hall if the clients wanted to eat meals. MDLC attempted to resolve this case through negotiation with the DOC. However, after negotiation was unsuccessful, MDLC filed a lawsuit in state court alleging that the DOC was failing to reasonably accommodate our clients’ disabilities. MDLC then brought a motion for a temporary injunction, requiring MCF-Stillwater to provide meals on the unit to our clients. The Court granted the motion for temporary injunction, and ordered the DOC to immediately restart its delivery of meals on the unit to our clients. The parties then agreed to mediation, and reached a settlement at the mediation. The DOC agreed to provide our clients with meals on the unit for five years. After the five years ends, the prison system must provide a medical examination for our clients if it decides to terminate meals on the unit. Our clients also each received $780 in damages, and MDLC received $30,000 in attorneys’ fees.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:

  1. Identify and describe priority.
  2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.
  3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
  4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
  5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.
  6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report:

Note: MDLC’s priorities are organized by issue rather than by program. This section includes all of MDLC’s priority issues that designate PAIR as a possible advocacy source.

This report highlights PAIR work under Priority III (Community-Based Services, Supports, and Health Care) and Priority IV (Accessibility and Discrimination).

PRIORITY 1: Eliminate Abuse and Neglect

For individuals with disabilities: MDLC helps clients whose health or safety is at risk because of abuse, such as physical assault, sexual assault, chemical restraint, (e,g., the wrong type/dose of psychotropic medications), restraint or seclusion, and neglect, such as failure to provide adequate medical care, required supervision, or other necessities. MDLC also helps clients who are financially exploited and those whose residential/treatment providers are not providing or deny them access to critical care or supports.

For groups of people with disabilities: MDLC staff conduct monitoring visits to facilities where persons with disabilities reside, learn or receive services. MDLC conducts investigations when it has cause to believe that abuse or neglect has occurred in a program or facility serving a group of individuals with disabilities.

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, and PATBI.

PRIORITY 2: Increase Integration and Decrease Discrimination

For individuals with disabilities:

Increase Integration: MDLC advocates for individuals in four key areas: special education, housing, employment, and other community activities:

Special Education: MDLC helps children and youth who are excluded from day care, pre-school, or K-12 schools because of conduct that is related to their disabilities. MDLC advocates for young clients to obtain positive behavior interventions instead of being inappropriately disciplined. MDLC may also help its young clients to receive access to special education and related services in the least restrictive setting.

Housing: MDLC advocates for people with disabilities to obtain or keep the housing of their choice in the most integrated setting that meets their needs.

Employment: MDLC helps clients get full services from Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS), State Services from the Blind, and Independent Living Centers. MDLC works to ensure that special education students get the services they need to transition from school to employment. MDLC helps Social Security Disability Beneficiaries (i.e. people who receive SSI and/or SSDI) who are engaged in return to work efforts or in securing, maintaining or regaining employment and who need consultation or legal advocacy.

Other Community Activities: MDLC advocates for people with disabilities to obtain or retain access to activities in the community of their choice in the most integrated setting that meets their needs.

Decrease Discrimination: MDLC works to protect clients’ civil rights, including voting rights, and to eliminate discrimination in the four areas listed above (special education, housing, employment, and other community activities) as well as access to:

For groups of people with disabilities: MDLC works on solutions to problems that affect many persons with disabilities through group advocacy such as class actions, policy work, and other systemic efforts. MDLC also conducts outreach about the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in the electoral (voting) process.

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT PATBI, PAVA, PABSS and CAP.

Case Examples:

PAIR staff sent a letter to the College Board that set forth their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and demanded that the College Board allow the client to take the SAT with her service animal. Following receipt of the letter, the College Board reversed its decision, and allowed the client to bring her service animal to the SAT. The client was able to take the SAT and did not miss any college application deadlines.

PAIR staff represented the client in a charge of discrimination filed with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. After filing the charge, PAIR staff negotiated a settlement agreement that provided both personal benefits to the client and brought about significant institutional changes. The state college system agreed that its future contracts with third party vendors of on-line courses will require the vendor to caption all spoken material and comply with the W3C’s WCAG 2.0 guidelines concerning captioning audio material. The producer, distributor and the college agreed to caption the Microsoft Office Training course MDLC’s client wanted to take. The client is now in the process of completing the course to obtain a professional skills certificate she can use to find employment. The client also received a settlement payment to compensate her for the emotional harm she experienced, and for the lost income caused by the delay in completing the course and obtaining the skills certification.

PAIR staff filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights based on the school’s failure to follow the 504 plan. PAIR staff then negotiated a settlement to increase the client’s access to educational opportunities. The settlement required to school district to provide a pool of funds for the student so that he could receive adequate homebound services.

PAIR staff had previously negotiated a settlement agreement in a case involving the Jail, where the County agreed to take actions to correct this problem. However, the two new clients indicated a pattern which was not consistent with the corrective actions the County had agreed to take in the past.

PAIR staff filed a federal lawsuit against Ramsey County, alleging violations of the ADA. PAIR staff then negotiated a settlement agreement with the County that included more robust training and supervisory action to ensure that the jail promptly provides qualified ASL interpreters for communications with inmates who are deaf in the future, and that it provides access to videophones. The County also agreed to make settlement payments to the clients to compensate them for the emotional harm its conduct caused our clients.

PRIORITY 3: Increase Access to Appropriate Services

MDLC’s advocacy focuses on:

For individuals with disabilities: MDLC helps persons with disabilities access and maintain services and supports in the following five areas: special education, housing, employment, other community activities, and health care.

Special Education: MDLC helps clients to obtain sufficient supports in their individualized education plans, behavior plans and overall school experience that they need to fully access educational, developmental, extracurricular, school-to-work transition, and social opportunities in the most integrated setting.

Housing: MDLC advocates for people with disabilities to obtain or keep the housing of their choice in the most integrated setting that meets their needs.

Employment: MDLC helps clients who are recipients of Social Security Benefits, Rehabilitation Services, State Services for the Blind and/or clients of Independent Living Centers and who need legal advocacy to receive the full array of available services to achieve their vocational or independent living goals. MDLC also assists school age and young adults who are served within state, school, and countyservice systems to fully participate in independent or supported employment to the maximum extent feasible.

Other Community Activities: MDLC advocates for people with disabilities to obtain or retain access to activities in the community of their choice in the most integrated setting that meets their needs.

Health care: MDLC helps clients to get the services they need to live in the community, move from restrictive to integrated settings, obtain access to health care programs, and get Assistive Technology.

For groups of people with disabilities: MDLC works on solutions to problems that affect many persons with disabilities through group advocacy such as class actions, policy work, and other systemic efforts.

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, PABSS and CAP.

Case Examples:

MDLC agreed to advocate with the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) that the client’s tracheostomy tube needed to be replaced, or, at the very least, looked at by a specialist. PAIR staff spoke with to the DOC facility’s Health Services Administrator numerous times and sent a letter to the DOC Director of Health Services about the client’s condition. After several months of advocacy, the client received a new tracheostomy tube, which allowed him speak and breathe more easily.

As part of MDLC’s representation, PAIR staff reviewed relevant medical records and other documentation, spoke to the MCO’s representatives, spoke to the client’s current doctor and previous doctors, obtained supporting letters from his doctors, and participated in a pre-hearing telephone conference. During the pre-hearing telephone conference, the Human Services Judge agreed that the MDLC was entitled to additional documentation that the MCO did not want to provide. MDLC also demanded that the MCO provide a basis for the decision to place the client in the RRP. After further negotiations, the MCO reversed its decision and determined that the client would no longer be placed in the RRP. The issue was resolved without an administrative hearing, and the client was able to continue to see his preferred doctors without restrictions.

PAIR staff agreed to represent the client in order to get the educational services restarted. PAIR staff contacted the school district in which the day treatment was located and requested that the district cover the expenses of the educational portion of his day. The district agreed to do so, provided that the client open enroll in that district. PAIR staff assisted the client in open enrolling in the new district, and the client’s educational services were restarted shortly thereafter.

PRIORITY 4: Increase Awareness of MDLC as a Statewide Resource

MDLC strives to provide high quality advocacy services to persons with disabilities across the state of Minnesota. General outreach and targeted in-reach are needed to ensure that people with disabilities, their families and service providers are aware of MDLC’s assistance.

For individuals with disabilities and their families, service providers and community groups, MDLC will:

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are funded by all of MDLC’s federal and non-federal funding sources.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year:

PRIORITY 1: Eliminate Abuse and Neglect

For individuals with disabilities: MDLC helps clients whose health or safety is at risk because of abuse, such as physical assault, sexual assault, chemical restraint (e,g., the wrong type/dose of psychotropic medications), restraint or seclusion, and neglect, such as failure to provide adequate medical care, required supervision, or other necessities. MDLC assists clients who are financially exploited and those whose residential/treatment providers are not providing or are denying them access to critical care or supports.

For groups of people with disabilities: MDLC conducts monitoring visits to facilities where persons with disabilities reside, learn, or receive services. MDLC conducts investigations when it has cause to believe that abuse or neglect has occurred in a program or facility serving a group of individuals with disabilities.

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, and PATBI.

PRIORITY 2: Increase Integration and Decrease Discrimination

Increase integration for individuals with disabilities:

MDLC advocates for individuals in four key areas: special education, housing, employment, and other community activities.

Special Education: MDLC helps children and youth who are excluded from day care, pre-school, or K-12 schools because of conduct that is related to their disabilities. MDLC advocates for young clients to obtain positive behavior interventions instead of being inappropriately disciplined. MDLC also helps children get access to special education and related services in the least restrictive setting.

Housing: MDLC advocates for people with disabilities to obtain or keep the housing of their choice in the most integrated setting that meets their needs.

Employment: MDLC helps clients get full services from Vocational Rehabilitation Services, State Services for the Blind, and Independent Living Centers. MDLC works to ensure that students with disabilities get the services they need to transition from school to employment. MDLC helps Social Security Disability beneficiaries (i.e., people who receive SSI and/or SSDI) who are engaged in return to work efforts or in securing, maintaining, or regaining employment and who need consultation or legal advocacy.

Other Community Activities: MDLC advocates for people with disabilities to obtain or retain access to activities in the community of their choice in the most integrated setting that meets their needs.

Decrease discrimination for individuals with disabilities:

MDLC works to protect clients’ civil rights, including voting rights, and to eliminate discrimination in the four areas listed above (special education, housing, employment, and other community activities) as well as access to:

• public services (services provided by local, county, or state government, including correctional settings); and

• public accommodations (businesses serving the public).

For groups of people with disabilities:

MDLC works on solutions to problems that affect many persons with disabilities through group advocacy such as class actions, policy work, and other systemic efforts. MDLC also conducts outreach about the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in the electoral (voting) process.

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, PAVA, PABSS, and CAP.

PRIORITY 3: Increase Access to Appropriate Services

MDLC’s advocacy focuses on:

• maximizing clients’ choice among appropriate services and supports;

• increasing opportunities for clients to self-direct their services and supports;

• improving provider capacity to meet clients’ needs;

• maintaining and increasing funding available to meet clients’ services and support needs; and

• improving physical access and removing barriers to community services.

For individuals with disabilities:

MDLC helps persons with disabilities access and maintain services and supports in the following five areas: special education, housing, employment, other community activities, and health care.

Special Education: MDLC helps clients to obtain sufficient supports and accommodations in their school plans, specialized behavior plans, and overall school experiences that they need to fully access educational, developmental, extracurricular, school-to-work transition, and social opportunities in the most integrated setting. • Housing: MDLC advocates for people with disabilities to obtain or keep the housing of their choice in the most integrated setting that meets their needs.

Employment: MDLC helps clients who are recipients of Social Security benefits, Rehabilitation Services, State Services for the Blind, and/or clients of Independent Living Centers and who need legal advocacy to receive the full array of available services to achieve their vocational or independent living goals. MDLC also assists school age and young adults who are served within state, school, and county service systems to fully participate in independent or supported employment to the maximum extent feasible.

Other Community Activities: MDLC advocates for people with disabilities to obtain or retain access to activities in the community of their choice in the most integrated setting that meets their needs.

Health Care: MDLC helps clients to get the services they need to live in the community, move from restrictive to integrated settings, obtain access to health care programs, and get Assistive Technology.

For groups of people with disabilities:

MDLC works on solutions to problems that affect many persons with disabilities through group advocacy such as class actions, policy work, and other systemic efforts.

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, PABSS, and CAP.

PRIORITY 4: Increase Awareness of MDLC as a Statewide Resource

MDLC strives to provide high quality advocacy services to persons with disabilities across the state of Minnesota. General outreach and targeted in-reach are needed to ensure that people with disabilities, their families, and service providers are aware of MDLC’s assistance.

For individuals with disabilities and their families, service providers, and community groups, MDLC will:

• conduct targeted in-reach to historically underserved communities, including communities of color;

• develop partnerships and relationships with key contacts and service providers in these communities;

• participate in outreach events sponsored by other local, regional, and statewide disability groups and other partners; and deliver presentations on disability law issues to self-advocacy and community groups.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:

  1. a statement of each prioirty;
  2. the need addressed by each priority; and;
  3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.

2018 Statement of Priorities

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid’s (MMLA) Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) provides free legal advice and representation for persons with disabilities in Minnesota. The mission of MDLC is to advance the dignity, self-determination, and equality of individuals with disabilities.

MMLA is designated, through executive order, as the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System for Minnesotans with disabilities. MMLA performs this function through its statewide MDLC. The P&A has the authority to protect and advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities and to investigate incidents of abuse and neglect. MDLC recognizes the importance of taking action on the special concerns of persons of color, persons with multiple disabilities, and those with special language or communication concerns.

PROGRAM FUNDING: MDLC’s advocacy is primarily funded by eight federally-mandated grants. Please see this document’s last page for a list of these federal grants and their acronyms.

MDLC also receives funds from the Greater Twin Cities United Way, the Fund for the Legal Aid Society, the Legal Services Advisory Committee, individual donations, and several small grants.

MDLC SERVICES: MDLC’s advocacy includes:

providing individual and group legal advocacy for persons with disabilities;

conducting monitoring visits and investigations to ensure safety and appropriate services;

providing outreach to individuals with disabilities, their families, their advocates, and their service providers;

delivering training and information on legal rights and self-advocacy; and

educating policy makers on issues that affect people with disabilities.

MDLC STRATEGIC GOALS LINKED TO PRIORITIES

To guide its work, MDLC has adopted a five-year Strategic Plan that has four broad goals. Please contact MDLC for a copy of the plan.

MDLC’s four strategic goals are to:

1. Eliminate Abuse and Neglect;

2. Increase Integration and Decrease Discrimination;

3. Increase Access to Appropriate Services; and

4. Increase Statewide Awareness of MDLC as an Advocacy Resource.

Every year, MDLC identifies important issues under the four strategic goals that affect people with disabilities. These important issues then become the priorities (focus areas) of MDLC’s annual work.

CRITERIA FOR CASE SELECTION

With our limited resources, MDLC may not be able to serve everyone who contacts us on issues that fall within our priority areas. To decide which cases to take, MDLC uses the following general selection criteria:

1. Is the individual we would represent eligible for services under federal and other funding source program requirements?

2. Does the issue in the matter arise because of the person’s disability?

3. Is there a legal conflict with another case or client that would prevent MMLA from representing the person?

4. Is there an adequate basis in fact and law to proceed with the case?

5. Are resources other than MDLC available to assist the person or to address the issue, including the person’s ability to pay a private attorney for representation and the availability of private,publicly-funded, pro bono attorneys or other advocacy organizations knowledgeable in the area?

6. Would our advocacy likely result in services being provided in a more integrated setting or manner?

7. Would our involvement significantly increase the possibility that other persons with disabilities and their families would obtain comparable benefits?

8. Is the person with a disability also subject to barriers as a member of another protected class that impair the person’s ability to receive disability-related services or other legal representation?

9. Can the case be handled given the existing workload of MDLC staff and available resources?

CASES MDLC CANNOT ACCEPT

Due to program restrictions and limited funds, MDLC cannot address all legal issues that affect individuals with disabilities. The areas in which we do not generally provide direct representation include, but are not limited to: criminal defense, juvenile delinquency, guardianship, civil commitment, child protection, parental fee disputes, Social Security Disability appeals, and family law.

MDLC also does not generally litigate employment discrimination claims or handle private insurance matters, particularly those governed by the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

However, despite these limits, information and referral services are offered to everyone who contacts MDLC for help with a disability-related issue. People with a problem that is not included within MDLC’s priorities may receive self-help advice and materials.

MDLC PRIORITIES FOR 2018

The order in which the following four priorities are listed does not imply higher or lower ranking.

PRIORITY 1: Eliminate Abuse and Neglect

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, and PATBI.

PRIORITY 2: Increase Integration and Decrease Discrimination

Increase integration for individuals with disabilities:

MDLC advocates for individuals in four key areas: special education, housing, employment, and other community activities.

Decrease discrimination for individuals with disabilities:

MDLC works to protect clients’ civil rights, including voting rights, and to eliminate discrimination in the four areas listed above (special education, housing, employment, and other community activities) as well as access to:

For groups of people with disabilities:

MDLC works on solutions to problems that affect many persons with disabilities through group advocacy such as class actions, policy work, and other systemic efforts. MDLC also conducts outreach about the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in the electoral (voting) process.

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, PAVA, PABSS, and CAP.

PRIORITY 3: Increase Access to Appropriate Services

MDLC’s advocacy focuses on:

For individuals with disabilities:

MDLC helps persons with disabilities access and maintain services and supports in the following five areas: special education, housing, employment, other community activities, and health care.

For groups of people with disabilities:

MDLC works on solutions to problems that affect many persons with disabilities through group advocacy such as class actions, policy work, and other systemic efforts.

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are primarily funded by PADD, PAIMI, PAIR, PAAT, PATBI, PABSS, and CAP.

PRIORITY 4: Increase Awareness of MDLC as a Statewide Resource

MDLC strives to provide high quality advocacy services to persons with disabilities across the state of Minnesota. General outreach and targeted in-reach are needed to ensure that people with disabilities, their families, and service providers are aware of MDLC’s assistance.

For individuals with disabilities and their families, service providers, and community groups, MDLC will:

Funding: MDLC’s services under this priority are funded by all of MDLC’s federal and non-federal funding sources.

Specific Focus of MDLC’s PADD and PAIMI Advocacy

MDLC’s PADD and PAIMI funds are used for the specific activities below that fit with MDLC’s four main priorities and with the funders’ requirements.

MDLC uses PADD funds to serve people with both intellectual and developmental disabilities. PADD funds are used to:

1. Conduct monitoring visits to increase safety; identify, and/or address instances of abuse or neglect of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD); and promote opportunities for community inclusion.

2. Provide individual advocacy to people with I/DD to enforce their rights, especially in cases involving serious abuse or neglect, isolation, inadequate behavior support services, use of restraints, and other rights restrictions.

3. Promote integration and inclusion by providing advocacy that enables persons with I/DD to move from unduly restrictive residential settings to more integrated and individualized settings or to gain, retain, or increase the array of health care and supports they receive to live as independently as possible in the community.

4. Eliminate discrimination in community settings against people with I/DD. Conduct outreach to and deliver presentations that provide people with I/DD, their family members, advocates, and service providers with information about available community-based services and supports and information about the rights of people with I/DD, including to people with I/DD from diverse communities, their family members, and providers that serve populations of color.

5. Improve the service delivery systems for persons with I/DD by engaging in public policy or systemic advocacy efforts to preserve, maintain, or expand access to health care and community-based services and supports.

6. Increase rights protections for persons with I/DD, including those under guardianship, to make informed choices about their living situations, treatment, and services.

7. Reduce and remove barriers that persons with I/DD encounter in accessing government benefits, services, and public accommodations in the most integrated settings, consistent with their needs and preferences.

8. Increase opportunities for transition-aged students and adults served by state and county services systems for people with I/DD to obtain appropriate and inclusive day and employment supports, including maximizing competitive and integrated employment, consistent with their needs and preferences.

9. Reduce abuse such as physical or sexual assault and use of inappropriate aversive or deprivation procedures including restraint or seclusion, inappropriate placements in more restrictive settings, and inappropriate discipline procedures (including long-term removals, expulsion and exclusion proceedings) for disability-related conduct in education and juvenile justice settings, by increasing access to positive behavior interventions and supports and accommodations in the least restrictive environment through individual case advocacy, group/systemic approaches, state task forces, and/or educating policy makers.

10. Improve access to school-age transition services, early childhood education, and appropriate evaluations and services in order to live, learn, work, and play as independently as possible and ensure that services, opportunities, facilities, and supports are available in a manner consistent with non-discrimination principles in education and juvenile justice settings through individual case advocacy, group/systemic approaches, state task forces, and/or educating policy makers.

11. Conduct outreach and deliver presentations that provide students with I/DD, their family members, school staff, and providers with information about their rights under state and federal special education laws, including to students with I/DD from diverse communities, their family members, or to organizations that serve populations of color.

MDLC uses PAIMI funds to serve people with mental illness. PAIMI funds are used to:

1. Provide PAIMI-eligible individuals with information and referral, technical assistance, short-term assistance, or representation in cases involving:

? abuse or neglect;

? self-determination;

? the right to reside in the most integrated community setting;

? discrimination and rights violations; and

? the rights of students to receive educational services consistent with state and federal requirements, including ensuring they are not excluded, restrained, or secluded for conduct that is directly related to their mental illness.

2. Advocate for the reduction of the inappropriate use of restraints and seclusion used against PAIMI-eligible individuals;

3. Monitor and investigate facilities that serve persons with mental illness;

4. Pursue public policy or systemic advocacy focused on health care coverage, community-based services and supports, and the special education needs of PAIMI-eligible K-12 students; and

5. Deliver presentations to increase awareness of the rights of individuals with mental illness.

Federal Grants and Acronyms: MDLC’s advocacy is primarily funded by these eight federally-mandated grants.

Part VI. Narrative

At a minimum, you must include all of the information requested. You may include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of PAIR activities during the prior fiscal year. Please limit the narrative portion of this report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

The narrative should contain the following information. The instructions for this form outline the information that should be contained in each section.

  1. Sources of funds received and expended
  2. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report
  3. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)
  4. Involvement with advisory boards (if any)
  5. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
  6. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

A. Sources of funds received and expended

Source of funding and expenditures

Federal funds: $356,626 received; $356,626 spent

State funds: $0.00 received; $0.00 spent

Program income: $265,645 received; $265,645 spent

Other sources: $0.00 received; $0.00 spent

Total: $622,271

B. Budget for the fiscal year covered by the report

Wages and salaries: $355,424

Fringe benefits: $130,952

Materials/supplies: $2,488

Postage: $1,275

Telephone: $4,223

Rent: $32,091

Travel: $1,500

Copying: $557

Bonding/Insurance: $1,486

Equipment Rental/Purchase: $3,741

Legal Services/Research: $27,733

Indirect Costs: $54,759

Miscellaneous/Training: $6,042

Total Costs: $622,271

Projection of current fiscal year budget

Wages and salaries: $382,450

Fringe benefits: $138,053

Materials/supplies: $2,620

Postage: $1,343

Telephone: $4,448

Rent: $34,336

Travel: $1,500

Copying: $586

Bonding/Insurance: $1,565

Equipment Rental/Purchase: $3,940

Legal Services/Research: $28,959

Indirect Costs: $63,092

Miscellaneous/Training: $6,334

Total Costs: $669,226

C. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)

Full-time case handlers (professional): 3.92 FTEs worked 100% of the year (3.97 person years)

Full-time clerical: 0.19 FTEs worked 100% of the year (0.19 person years)

D. Involvement with advisory boards

A PAIR program staff attorney was appointed to and serves as the Disability Representative on a new Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) “Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council” at the MSBA that was established to promote diversity efforts in the Minnesota State Bar Association and in the legal community. In addition, MDLC’s Legal Director serves on the board of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL), a nonprofit funded by the Minnesota Judicial Branch to provide education and services to individuals in the legal profession who are in treatment for alcoholism and chemical dependency.

E. Grievances filed: Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance/MDLC has a written grievance policy. One (1) PAIR clients filed a grievance during this report period.

F. Coordination with the CAP and the State long-term care program:

Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance is the designated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) System for Minnesota and fulfills these functions through its statewide project, the Minnesota Disability Law Center. In addition to PAIR, the agency also receives federal funds for the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and all other federal P&A program funding. Collaboration and coordination of CAP and other P&A services occurs among MDLC’s case handlers on a daily basis, at weekly MDLC work team meetings, and at quarterly staff meetings. PAIR staff have access to the expertise and experience of staff working in all other MDLC programs.

Project staff will use other available resources whenever possible, so as to maximize their own resources. As previously mentioned, staff have a close working knowledge of the CAP, PADD and PAIMI systems and will refer persons to those projects whenever appropriate. PAIR staff also confer with other non-P&A Legal Aid co-workers on housing, immigration, benefits, and family law matters, when appropriate.

MDLC has excellent contacts and working relationships (but no formal agreements) with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s office. This includes mutual consultation regarding advocacy issues, and referrals of clients between our organizations, when appropriate.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByDrew Schaffer
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/19/2017